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The low pass rate of online courses should be a red flag

Vol. LIX, Issue 617

LBSU players and coaches teach little leaguers

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Thursday, August 1, 2013

CSU audit reveals almost $159K in ‘questionable’ travel costs Some claim the CSU chief financial officer’s retirement is linked to the audit’s findings. By Kristine McGowan Editor in Chief

A Systemwide Risk Management employee for the Cal State University has incurred nearly $159,000 in travel costs over two years, generating questionable expenses on trips to San Francisco, London, Kenya, Ghana and more, according to a CSU audit report released last week.

Within a week of the report’s release, CSU Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief Financial Officer Benjamin Quillian — who requested the audit — revealed that he will retire from his position later this year, according to CSU Spokesman Mike Uhlenkamp. He also said that Quillian’s department supervises SRM. The internal audit reviewed 146 travel expense claims and found that the SRM employee, who remains anonymous throughout the report, racked up approx-

imately $158,994 in travel costs from July 2010 through September 2012. According to its website, SRM protects the CSU “from catastrophic liability and other financial losses” by providing risk management services. The audit report asserted that the employee’s expenses were “often questionable in terms of their appropriateness and business necessity and did not always have a clear or demonstrable benefit to … the CSU.” According to Uhlenkamp, Quillian has decided to retire for his own reasons; however, President of the Statewide University Police Association Jeff Solomon alleged Wednesday that Quillian’s retire-

ment is connected to the audit’s findings. “The timing of his retirement is suspicious,” Solomon said. “It seems to me that if you discover something like this, that you follow it through to its end.” Solomon said he also found it suspicious that SUPA has not been asked to conduct an investigation into the audit’s findings. Uhlenkamp, though, said Quillian’s retirement and the audit report are unrelated and that SUPA is linking the two as a bargaining tactic for contract negotiations between the CSU and police union. “There is absolutely no connection between the two,” Uhlenkamp said. “These items are only linked in the eyes of an or-

ganization that is trying to get raises from the CSU.” In listing the “questionable” travel expenses, the report said the SRM employee traveled to San Francisco 82 times, was reimbursed for a car wash at LAX parking garage and used limo services to travel to and from airports at least eight times during the two-year period reviewed. The CSU’s travel policy states that the system will pay for or reimburse “ordinary, reasonable, not extravagant, and necessary” travel-related expenses for conducting official business, according to the report.

See Audit, Page 2

Several CSULB parking lots to undergo construction Sinaloa Cono, left, Jaime Harvey, center, and Bengamin Gonzalez, right, spread freshlypoured asphalt on Parking Lot 15 on Wednesday. Many CSULB parking lots will be closed in coming weeks as they receive routine maintenance. For anticpated closure dates, see information box, page 3.

Todd Johnson | Daily 49er

CSU to teach students to be Aware, Awake, Alive The program was created to prevent alcohol-related deaths in students. By Courtney Tompkins Managing Editor

Carson Starkey was 18 years old when his fraternity initiation ritual at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo went horribly wrong.

Starkey was a pledge rushing Sigma Alpha Epsilon in December 2008. As part of his initiation, fraternity brothers handed him and another pledge a fifth (750 ml.) of rum to drink, as well as a bottle of 151-proof Everclear that was being passed around the room. But within 20 minutes of drinking the alcohol, Starkey collapsed and became

unresponsive. A few fraternity brothers picked him up and placed him in a car to take him to a hospital a quarter mile away, but they abandoned the plan for fear of repercussions. Instead, they took him back into the house and left him on a mattress, unmonitored, where he died. Starkey’s parents, Scott and Julia Starkey, told the story of their loss at the

Cal State University Board of Trustees meeting on July 23. They also gave a presentation about “Aware, Awake, Alive,” an organization the Starkeys formed in August 2011 to spread alcohol awareness in colleges and universities across the country. Teary-eyed after the presentation, CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White responded by committing to implement the program across the 23-campus system this year. “Perhaps our action will be one more

step forward to making his death and all it represents to so many families a little less painful,” White said at the meeting. The peer-to-peer program aims to spread awareness by educating teens, young adults and parents about the dangers and symptoms of alcohol abuse via a web-based toolbox with more than 150 resources, according

See Awareness, Page 2

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